Former Defence Minister Ante Kotromanović Reacts to Air Force Scandal

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“I support the investigation”, says Croatia’s former Defence Minister.

Military police are investigating the refurbishment of MiG-21 aircraft purchased and refurbished in Ukraine. The military police criminal investigators reportedly discovered that the aircraft which Croatia bought from Ukraine have changed serial numbers and that they do not correspond to the documents which accompany the plane. Former Defence Minister Ante Kotromanović commented on the latest news from the United States, where he is on a business trip, reports Večernji List on March 22, 2016.

“As a former defence minister, I have to say that even earlier there were speculations about illegal conduct in the procurement and refurbishment of the MiGs. At the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence, about a year and a half ago, I publicly urged the State Attorney’s Office and then I called the State Attorney Dinko Cvitan and asked him to investigate all illegal acts, if any, on any level: from the Croatian Air Force, to General Staff of the Armed Forces to the Ministry of Defence”, says Kotromanović

Kotromanović adds he knows nothing about the latest allegations. “At the time when I was the minister, military police and the Military Security and Intelligence Agency failed to inform me or the former Chief of General Staff Drago Lovrić about any new circumstances about possible fraud or corruption from the Ukrainian side. I support the investigation of both the military police and the State Attorney’s Office, so that all circumstances would be investigated because the public needs to know the truth”, said Kotromanović.

“The process of refurbishment and purchase of the MiGs that we executed was transparent. We have received the lowest price, and I have personally involved the military police in the process. At all meetings in which I took place, there was a representative of the military police. If there are indications that someone from the Armed Forces or the Defence Ministry received a bribe, that should be investigated and, if doubts are confirmed, the culprits should be held responsible. If it turns out that there was corruption, it would be a tragedy”, said the former Defence Minister, who in July 2014 said that he would “shoot myself in the head if anyone can prove that I favoured the Ukrainians”.


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